By MATTHEW WEAVER

Capital Press

A group of Canadian wheat farmers is suing the Canadian Wheat Board over alleged misuse of farmers' money.

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association instructed lawyers on Oct. 27 to commence legal action against the Canadian Wheat Board and eight of its directors.

The news came a day after the wheat board itself announced it would sue the Canadian federal government following the government's introduction of legislation designed to eliminate the wheat board's monopoly.

According to a wheat board press release, the lawsuit says the government broke the law when it introduced the bill Oct. 18. According to the release, the Canadian Wheat Board Act requires a plebiscite, or vote, of affected producers.

According to the board, 62 percent of responding farmers voted to retain the current marketing system in its own plebiscite during the summer. Ballots were mailed to more than 68,000 farmers. The participation rate was 56 percent, according to the board.

The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association wants the board to stop using farmer funds for political purposes.

"We're not seeking any kind of financial compensation or damages, we just want to stop them from wasting our money," association president Kevin Bender told the Capital Press.

"The government has said they're moving ahead with this legislation and there's no turning back," he said. "We believe it's a futile effort on the part of the wheat board, and we don't want them spending our money doing it."

The association has close to 500 members. Executive director Blair Rutter said that number continues to grow.

"I think we've struck a chord with farmers who are fed up with the wheat board taking their money and using it for their political agenda," Rutter said.

The association is in favor of the legislation, which they say would provide farmers with an open and free market.

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